Connect with us


Gabby Quijas’ no-hitter part of history-making day in regional for Hart softball

Pirates advance to regional final for first time, then fall to fourth-ranked Evart.

Hart’s softball team defeated LeRoy Pine River in the semifinals, 11-0 in six innings, and lost to Evart in the finals, 9-3, of a Division 3 regional tournament Saturday, June 8, 2024, in Kingsley, Mich. (Courtesy photo)

Hart’s softball team made history in more ways than one and earned some redemption along the way during a memorable Division 3 regional semifinal against LeRoy Pine River Saturday at Kingsley.

Gabby Quijas pitched a no-hitter in Hart’s 11-0 victory over Pine River, helping the Pirates punch their ticket to a regional final for the first time in program history.

In the championship game, Hart fell to fourth-ranked Evart, 9-3. The Pirates close the season with an impressive 27-13 record.

Evart (34-4) advances to a state quarterfinal against Gladstone at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Cadillac.

“The Pirates were poised for redemption after losing to (Pine River) twice 10 days prior on their home field,” Hart coach Dean DeVries said. “This group made history and was the first team to advance to a regional final.”

In the regional semifinal, Quijas walked the leadoff batter, but Hart’s defense rose to the challenge and Quijas did the rest. She threw only five more pitches out of the strike zone the rest of the game.

Quijas struck out one and walked one in her gem of a performance. Her defense did the rest.

“Unbelievable command of the zone by the senior helped us stay relaxed on the offensive and defensive side of the ball,” DeVries said. “In any no-hitter, there are always defensive plays that swing the result for the pitcher in the circle and this game was no different.”

Kelsey Copenhaver had four assists from her third-base position in less than ideal conditions, said DeVries, who noted the play of the game was a diving catch in left-center field by Caydence Bateson to begin the sixth inning.

Copenhaver was 2-for-3, while Bateson laid down a pair of bunts for hits. Makenna Carrier had two hits and scored three runs for the Pirates, while Quijas had two hits and three RBIs. Gabby Schmieding had an infield single with the bases loaded that resulted in a throwing error that brought everybody home.

“Everybody had a hand in this win, affording the opportunity for a regional title against state-ranked Evart,” DeVries said.

Hart scored first in the regional final against Evart, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Abby Hicks doubled on a ball that looked like it had a chance of being a home run.

Evart answered with four runs in the third and two in the fourth for a 6-1 lead. The Wildcats made it 8-1 in the fifth before Hart answered with one in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Quijas takes the loss in the circle, but DeVries said it does not take away from the incredible season she had. She got the start and allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits with non strikeouts and no walks in three innings.

“Our defense was a little more shaky in the second game and Evart took advantage like good teams will do,” DeVries said. “The pitcher for Evart provided one of our toughest tests of the year. With a 0.53 ERA, the Pirates were able to scratch across the first run of the game as Abby Hicks almost hit a home run over the left center field fence.”

Hicks finished with two hits, while Copenhaver also doubled.

DeVries said that scoring runs against Evart is no small feat, but he added that his team did not make enough plays on defense to keep the game close.

“The coaching staff is so proud of the growth, resilience, and grit that this team has shown throughout the season,” DeVries said. “There were many times to quit and hang our heads and this team stayed the course and steered the ship. My only hope is that the underclassmen continue the tradition and culture that this senior class has shown them to uphold.”

Courtesy photos

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in Softball